Financial Aid Award Packages Comparison Tool

Congratulations on your college acceptances! The Financial Aid Award Letter Comparison Tool helps you evaluate your financial aid packages and determine the bottom line cost – the difference between the cost of attendance and your financial aid package – for each college. It may surprise you that the school with the highest cost of attendance may not be the most expensive for you to attend!

You see how much is:

  • “Free money” – grants and scholarships that don’t have to be paid back
  • Loans – that do need to be paid back – with interest
  • What you still need to pay.

General Information

What is the length of the program you are entering? For example, you are studying for a Bachelor’s in Communications that is 4 years of study.

School 01 Information

We’ll start by inputting the information from your first award letter.

Cost of attendance (COA) includes tuition, fees, housing, books, transportation and other educational costs.

What is the total estimated cost of attendance (COA) listed on the award letter?

$
Grants and scholarships are FREE money that doesn’t have to be paid back!

What is the total amount of grants and scholarships listed on your award letter?

$
Federal loans and PLUS loans must be repaid with interest! The amount of loans you take for your education will impact your life after graduation. Be a smart borrower!

What is the total amount of federal loans offered on your award letter? Do NOT include work-study, if offered.

$

School 02 Information

Now, let's input the same information from your second award letter.

Cost of attendance (COA) includes tuition, fees, housing, books, transportation and other educational costs.

What is the total estimated cost of attendance (COA) listed on the award letter?

$
Grants and scholarships are FREE money that doesn’t have to be paid back!

What is the total amount of grants and scholarships listed on your award letter?

$
Federal loans and PLUS loans must be repaid with interest! The amount of loans you take for your education will impact your life after graduation. Be a smart borrower!

What is the total amount of federal loans offered on your award letter? Do NOT include work-study, if offered.

$

School 03 Information

If you have a third award letter, input the information here. If not, continue to the next section titled Additional Information.

Cost of attendance (COA) includes tuition, fees, housing, books, transportation and other educational costs.

What is the total estimated cost of attendance (COA) listed on the award letter?

$
Grants and scholarships are FREE money that doesn’t have to be paid back!

What is the total amount of grants and scholarships listed on your award letter?

$
Federal loans and PLUS loans must be repaid with interest! The amount of loans you take for your education will impact your life after graduation. Be a smart borrower!

What is the total amount of federal loans offered on your award letter? Do NOT include work-study, if offered.

$

Additional Information

Input what other money sources you plan to use to pay for college, and see your balance due get smaller! Please include the total amount you have available for college, not the total per year.

$
$
$
$

Compare Results

Based on your data, you should consider taking less federal loans (money that must be paid back with interest). To re-calculate, take less federal loans rather than putting in additional money.

Here's how your colleges rank in terms of affordability:

Total Cost Per Year

 {College #1}{College #2}{College #31}
Cost of Attendance${COA DATA}${COA DATA}${COA DATA}
- Grants & Scholarships- ${Grants DATA}- ${Grants DATA}- ${Grants DATA}
= Total Net Costs= ${RESULTS}= ${RESULTS}= ${RESULTS}
- Yearly Debt from Federal Loans- ${Loans DATA}- ${Loans DATA}- ${Loans DATA}
= Remaining Cost to be Funded= ${RESULTS}= ${RESULTS}= ${RESULTS}

This is your bottom line per year before you borrow any money that needs to be repaid.  

* This college is providing the most grants and scholarships. This is FREE money that doesn't have to be repaid.

* This college has the lowest bottom line or net price - cost before loans.

Calculations are based on the assumption that you will have a constant level of borrowing, and money available from additional sources will remain the same, for each year in college.

 

Your Total Estimated College Costs for {Years} years of education at the following colleges:

Total Cost for {Years} Years

 {College #1}{College #2}{College #3}
Cost of Attendance${COA DATA}${COA DATA}${COA DATA}
Your total debt from federal student loans${Federal Student Loans}${Federal Student Loans}${Federal Student Loans}
Total Grants & Scholarships${Grants DATA}${Grants DATA}${Grants DATA}
Total money from other sources${Other Sources}${Other Sources}${Other Sources}
Balance due or the additional cost left to pay or finance${Balance Due}${Balance Due}${Balance Due}

* You'll have the lowest amount of federal student loans with this college. Federal loans must be repaid with interest. Repayment starts six months after graduation, and is usually a ten-year repayment.

* This college has the lowest bottom line cost. This is the amount you still need to pay after all financial aid (grants, scholarships and federal loans) is deducted.

Calculations are based on the assumption that you will have a constant level of borrowing, and money available from additional sources will remain the same, for each year in college.

What does this mean? How much do you need to borrow? How much will it cost you over the lifetime of the loan(s)? Here’s a snapshot of how much each college will cost you for the length of the program you intend to study.

 

+{College #1}

What is my total estimated debt to attend {College #1}?
If you select {College #1}, you will owe ${Total Federal Loans} after {Years} years of education. Your federal loan debt will require an approximate monthly payment of ${Monthly Payment} for ten years after graduation. Your total federal loan payments including interest over ten years will be ${Total Cost of Loan}.

The minimum annual salary you will need to make in order to afford these federal loan payments is ${Salary Needed}. Based on the estimated annual salary of a job in {Occupation}, your estimated burden of debt is {Burden}.

In addition to your federal loan debt, you and/or your family are required to pay or finance an additional payment of ${Balance Due} per year. You may consider payment options such as payment plans offered by your college, funds available from a 529 College Savings Plan, parent PLUS loan, work-study, savings, parental contributions, or private/alternative loans as your last resort.

Learn more about how to reduce the amount you need to borrow.

A parent PLUS loan for the balance due of ${Balance Due Total} will total ${Plus Loan Total}, and require an additional payment of ${Plus Loan Monthly} for ten years. This calculation is based on parents making payments while you are in school. If payments are deferred until after you graduate, interest will accrue from the time of full disbursement adding to the total amount borrowed.

+{College #2}

What is my total estimated debt to attend {College #2}?
If you select {College #2}, you will owe ${Total Federal Loans} after {Years} years of education. Your federal loan debt will require an approximate monthly payment of ${Monthly Payment} for ten years after graduation. Your total federal loan payments including interest over ten years will be ${Total Cost of Loan}.

The minimum annual salary you will need to make in order to afford these federal loan payments is ${Salary Needed}. Based on the estimated annual salary of a job in {Occupation}, your estimated burden of debt is {Burden}.

In addition to your federal loan debt, you and/or your family are required to pay or finance an additional payment of ${Balance Due} per year. You may consider payment options such as payment plans offered by your college, funds available from a 529 College Savings Plan, parent PLUS loan, work-study, savings, parental contributions, or private/alternative loans as your last resort.

Learn more about how to reduce the amount you need to borrow.

A parent PLUS loan for the balance due of ${Balance Due Total} will total ${Plus Loan Total}, and require an additional payment of ${Plus Loan Monthly} for ten years. This calculation is based on parents making payments while you are in school. If payments are deferred until after you graduate, interest will accrue from the time of full disbursement adding to the total amount borrowed.

+{College #3}

What is my total estimated debt to attend {College #3}?
If you select {College #3}, you will owe ${Total Federal Loans} after {Years} years of education. Your federal loan debt will require an approximate monthly payment of ${Monthly Payment} for ten years after graduation. Your total federal loan payments including interest over ten years will be ${Total Cost of Loan}.

The minimum annual salary you will need to make in order to afford these federal loan payments is ${Salary Needed}. Based on the estimated annual salary of a job in {Occupation}, your estimated burden of debt is {Burden}.

In addition to your federal loan debt, you and/or your family are required to pay or finance an additional payment of ${Balance Due} per year. You may consider payment options such as payment plans offered by your college, funds available from a 529 College Savings Plan, parent PLUS loan, work-study, savings, parental contributions, or private/alternative loans as your last resort.

Learn more about how to reduce the amount you need to borrow.

A parent PLUS loan for the balance due of ${Balance Due Total} will total ${Plus Loan Total}, and require an additional payment of ${Plus Loan Monthly} for ten years. This calculation is based on parents making payments while you are in school. If payments are deferred until after you graduate, interest will accrue from the time of full disbursement adding to the total amount borrowed.

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